Martinez will not rush Caldwell

28 October 2010 03:15
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez will continue to take a cautious approach over Gary Caldwell's return to regular first-team football.

Caldwell made his first Latics appearance of the season in the 2-0 Carling Cup fourth-round victory over Swansea earlier this week, having undergone double hip surgery during the summer.

The 28-year-old defender did turn out for Scotland against the Czech Republic at the start of the month but Martinez has been careful not to rush Caldwell back into Premier League action too soon and will monitor him closely ahead of Saturday's trip to Fulham before deciding whether he should play or not.

"He is a very respected player in the squad and everyone has suffered with him while he has been out," Martinez said.

"It has been a long-term injury and a long spell away from the pitch, but he has been around the training ground. You can't keep him away from the players even when he is injured.

"He has that relationship with the players and that influence, and it was great to see him enjoying his football for 90 minutes.

"Now we need to make sure he is ready for the next game fully fit. It would be a big mistake to force him and push him if he is not ready."

A player just beginning his rehabilitation from injury is James McCarthy, who suffered ankle ligament damage after being tackled by Bolton's Fabrice Muamba last Saturday.

Martinez revealed it could now be as long as 12 weeks before McCarthy is fit for selection again.

"The whole joint needs a bit of work and the medial ligament is ruptured completely," Martinez said.

"We expect it to be between 10 and 12 weeks before we see James back. We have to reconstruct the joint just to make sure the ligament heals well and to make sure there are no further problems.

"We are still making the final decision on what is going to be the best way to go about the first three weeks of the rehab, but there is no fracture of the bone, which is what we feared a little bit before."

Meanwhile, Martinez insists he has no fears about the possibility of Chris Kirkland looking for a transfer in January and believes the goalkeeper will continue to be a "very important asset" for the club.

Kirkland has found himself on the bench for most of this season after conceding 10 goals in the Latics' opening two games and struggling with injury.

Ali Al-Habsi has taken his place in goal, but with the on-loan Bolton stopper ineligible to play against his parent club last weekend, Kirkland made his first start since August.

Al-Habsi came straight back into the team for Tuesday night's game, though, and reports have suggested Kirkland may be considering his future at the DW Stadium.

However, when asked if he was worried the 29-year-old might leave Wigan in the next transfer window, Martinez said: "No, not at all.

"What Chris Kirkland has done for this club, he has earned the respect of everybody here and outside.

"What is important is that he needs to be 100%, injury free and a big influence around the place, like he is.

"Playing or not playing, that is just an incident of the moment. Maybe in two weeks he will be playing, and then we will have been talking for no reason.

"He is a big member of the squad and a very important asset for Wigan Athletic, and that will carry on."

Source: Team_Talk